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I grew up in Ferndale, a tiny farm town in Washington State, where my dad was a state legislator- and politics were daily fare, not unlike the tuna-noodle hot dish we were force-fed.

We didn't get a TV until late in my childhood because our parents thought it was an unhealthy fad. (they were half correct, of course).

We listened to the radio.

After high school, I sailed in the merchant marine, sailing coastwise for a while on oil tankers, then on freighters and cruise ships literally around the world. At this impressionable age, I studied Asian culture from the bar stools and brothels of Saigon, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Honolulu and Manila, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Majoring in English at WWU, my career path led directly into the restaurant business as a cook, then chef and eventually a restaurateur. I worked in Seattle, San Francisco and Maui.

I owned and operated a lively and well-reviewed restaurant, Barkley's (named after my dog) in LaConner, WA during the 1980's.

I became a writer in 1990.

I've done comedy writing and background on National Public Radio for Garrison Keillor's 'A Prairie Home Companion.' I've written commentaries, food memoirs and essays, political comment, and off-beat Seattle postcards for "All Things Considered."

NPR is very nice, but AM talk radio is my guilty pleasure. It's like the perfervid family dinner 'discussions' we had growing up- except there were more liberals at our table and our grammar was better.

I'm a Northwest stringer for the French news wire, Agence France-Presse. I've been the restaurant critic and weekly dining columnist on the Seattle Post Intelligencer and my work on all manner of topics has appeared in the Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, The Stranger, Seattle Magazine, Seattle Business Monthly, Sunset, Washington Law & Politics, New York Post, Pacific Northwest Magazine, The Pacific NW Inlander, The Tucson Weekly, Men's Journal, and Washington Journey.

I am a Contributing Editor for Seattle Magazine and Washington CEO Magazine.

I've won 9 awards from the Society of Professional Journalists over the years, including a First Place in 2006 for Social Issues Reporting in 2006 and another in 2005 for Humorous Writing shared with Steve Hansen.

I was Food Editor of the Blue Moon Tavern's late, beloved Point No Point Magazine.

My essay, "Getting Sauced" was chosen for Best Food Writing 2000, an anthology edited by Holly Hughes with an introduction by Alice Waters. My story, Requiem with Marinara, in an anthology "September 11: West Coast Writers Approach Ground Zero," (Hawthorne, 2002).

I've traveled extensively in Africa and Europe, Mexico, Guatemala, and Cuba.

I was once appointed to the Town Council in LaConner, but was eventually defeated by 3 votes by a man who didn't wash his hair. The Republic is the better for it--I'm too grumpy and elitist to be a politician, a profession I admire and respect.

I teach creative writing and do GED tutoring at the King County Jail, and play the ukelele.

After an aggressive marital catch and release program, I have two grown children, April Zepeda, and Milo Hood; also two grandchildren: Anabella, and Nate.


mergers, mutton, merinques, meaningless sex, martial art galleries, Martin Buber, mate yerba, martyred sock puppets, reading the paper, sea chanties and dust-ruffles.